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LMT/GTM Achieves First Light

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    M82 Spectrum

Spectrum of the millimeter-wave emission from the starburst galaxy Messier 82 superimposed on an image of the galaxy obtained by the Hubble Space Telescope. The spectrum shows the strength of the emission from the galaxy at different wavelengths or frequencies of light. At some frequencies there is a strong signal due to the emission from a specific molecular species. These strong emissions, which appear as spikes in the spectrum, allow astronomers to probe the physical conditions and chemical makeup of the gas where stars are forming in the galaxy. The relative strength of each molecular signature seen, such as isotopic variants of carbon monoxide (CO) and simple molecules such as hydrogen cyanide (HCN), hydrogen isocyanide (HNC), carbon monosulfide (CS) and the abundant interstellar molecular ion HCO+, provides key information about the conditions in star forming regions in these very distant galaxies.

FCRAO is supported by NSF grant AST 08-38222